Your baby can come into contact with the bacteria that cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease almost anywhere.

You do everything possible to help keep your little one healthy. But your baby can come into contact with the bacteria that cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease almost anywhere.

Such as:
• In a playground
• On a playdate
• On an object or even a cuddly toy

About Invasive Pneumococcal Disease

Here’s why it’s called Invasive Pneumococcal Disease:

Invasive—It’s called “invasive” because it invades parts of the body that normally don’t have bacteria, like the bloodstream or the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Pneumococcal (new-ma-ka-kull)—It’s caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) that can be harmful.

Disease—Two key types of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease are pneumococcal meningitis (sometimes called bacterial meningitis) and pneumococcal bacteremia (bloodstream infection). These two types have different symptoms and complications, depending on which parts of the body are infected.

The Dangers of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease

Generally, invasive pneumococcal disease is serious, but treatable. However, some invasive forms can be deadly.

For any questions or concerns about your child’s health, please talk to your healthcare provider.

Pneumococcal meningitis

Pneumococcal meningitis is a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord and is a type of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease. In fact, 1 in 15 children under the age of 5 who get pneumococcal meningitis die from it. Others may experience serious and even permanent complications such as hearing loss or brain damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your baby may have symptoms like fever, headache, and irritability. In addition, your baby may not want to eat or drink, may be vomiting, and may be less alert than usual.

Pneumococcal bacteremia

Pneumococcal bacteremia is a type of invasive pneumococcal disease that is an infection of the bloodstream. Although uncommon, this disease can be serious and potentially deadly. About 1 out of 100 children younger than 5 years old with this infection die from it.

According to the CDC, your baby may be less alert and have symptoms including fever and chills.

Among children

Among children, babies under 2 years old are at highest risk, and they can be infected almost anywhere

Babies under 2 years old have immune systems that are still developing, making it harder for them to fight off illnesses. This means that once the bacteria (pneumococcus) that cause these diseases enter your baby’s body, it may be easier for the germs to spread to other parts of the body.

A simple ear infection can sometimes turn into Invasive Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcus causes almost half of acute middle ear infections. And over 60% of children have had at least one of these infections by the time they are a year old. Even though pneumococcal ear infections are often mild and commonly occur, they can progress to Invasive Pneumococcal Disease.

Meningitis may lead to brain damage or even death

One of the causes of pneumococcal meningitis among infants and children is pneumococcus. In fact, pneumococcus has become one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis among children younger than 5 years of age in the United States with the decline of the HIB disease. Pneumococcal meningitis occurs when pneumococcus invades the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria from pneumococcal meningitis can cause brain tissues to swell and become inflamed. Symptoms can appear gradually over several days or appear quickly after pneumococcus’ invasion. Symptoms may quickly become life-threatening.

How It Spreads

A touch or cough is all it may take for bacteria to spread

The bacteria that cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease are infectious. In fact, according to the CDC, even healthy people can carry the bacteria that cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in their nose and throat without knowing it and without getting the disease themselves, but it can still be spread to their baby.

Here’s how the bacteria that cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease can spread:
Touching an object

The bacteria that can cause Invasive Pneumococcal Disease may spread to your baby via direct contact with toys or objects where the bacteria are present.

Person-to-person

Pneumococcal bacteria can spread by direct contact with saliva or mucus. Many people can have the bacteria in their nose or throat without becoming sick themselves, especially children. If your child is in daycare, the risk of infection is more than twice as high.

A cough

Someone’s cough that contains pneumococcus bacteria can enter your child’s body through their nose, mouth, throat, or eyes, and may invade parts of the body that are normally free from infection. Once the bacteria are inside your baby, they can spread.

What You Can Do

You’ve taken the first step in helping to protect your baby by learning about Invasive Pneumococcal Disease.

There’s more you can do:

  • Invasive Pneumococcal Disease can be treated with antibiotics which are only given to children after they become ill. Sometimes, Invasive Pneumococcal Disease can get worse quickly. The disease can be treated, but sometimes children don’t respond to treatment.
  • There are vaccines available to help prevent serious illnesses like Invasive Pneumococcal Disease. Speak to your healthcare provider for more information and to answer any questions you may have about vaccine risks.
  • Visit this link to learn more from the CDC about Invasive Pneumococcal Disease, its symptoms and treatments.